It’s hard to imagine that Galesburg’s cornfield-surrounded Sustainable Business Center could smell so much like an ocean, but as people gathered at Saturday’s Sitka Salmon Festival, the smell of salmon wafted through the air.
The event drew in salmon lovers from all over western Illinois who gathered to sample salmon dishes from six different Galesburg restaurants, partake in salmon head tosses and purchase various frozen salmon from Sitka, Alaska, where Sitka Salmon is based. Younger kids gathered around an arts and crafts table, where they could color in paper fish. Older attendees wandered the beer garden.
Different forms of salmon dishes were served, from salmon pizza, courtesy of Baked, to honey glazed salmon, from High Noon BBQ. Q’s Cafe brought in a salmon ceviche served over steamed rice. They were given salmon from Sitka Salmon and were told to use their expertise to make a dish.
“I get to do things I wouldn’t normally do,” owner Walter McAllister said as he doled out servings of the ceviche. “I can be experimental … and the product is great.”
This year, the event boasted itself as a “zero waste” event, with eight Knox students roving the event to ensure waste was handled correctly and manning waste stations.
“It’s an opportunity to educate a large constituency who are not part of the Knox community,” Knox Sustainability Coordinator Froggi Van Riper said.
Junior Isaac Lee was one of the “waste station ambassadors” and emphasized the importance of maintaining a waste-free event and raising awareness about sustainability.
“It’s really meaningful that this fest is trying to organize a waste-free [presence],” he said. “That’s amazing. I’m glad we adapted this, and it’s a great step.”